“Even though you have ten thousand guardians in Christ, you do not have many fathers, for in Christ Jesus I became your father through the gospel”.
1 Cor 4:15 NIV
Fathers always want their offspring to grow, to develop and to mature. They watch for every sign of increasing knowledge, competence and independence. Wise fathers don’t try to take over and make their children’s decisions for them, hoping they will make good decisions on their own.
There were plenty of people around who could give advice to the Corinthian Christians. But they needed more than that. And they were in a special relationship with Paul. He had become their father in God when he preached Jesus Christ to them and they believed. They had become disciples under his guidance. They owed a lot to him – he had brought them to their spiritual re-birth. And now he was nurturing them up to maturity in Christ. And the whole set-up between him and them was “in Christ”. It had started because of Christ. In fact Christ was more active in it than they were. It was therefore different from any human relationship of mentor and learners. And as Paul was guiding them he too was growing in stature both as a person and as a spiritual guide. And the sense of being a family of Christ and in Christ was increasing all the time.
Be sure that you too are part of a community – however large or small – that is growing in Christ. Whether your formal pastor or minister is the “father in God” or not try to cultivate a sense of family in Christ in your fellowship. Sometimes a senior lay leader will assume this role. Give them your support and encouragement.
PRAYER THOUGHT Lord, thank you for all those who have nurtured me in Christ.